Ken Crutchfield was born to a family of drummers on the south side of Chicago. His father worked around the Chicago area for years, eventually backing such artists as Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley. After getting married and having kids, economics dictated that he give up playing music on a full time basis and pass on his talents to his sons, Freddy Jr. and Kenny Crutchfield, Ken beginning his lessons from his dad at the age of two years old. Both he and his brother were introduced to several drummers' style like Max Roach, Art Blakley, Joe Morello and Tony Williams among others. Later Ken and his brother would meet Max Roach and trade drum solos with him at a drum clinic; the event landing in Jet Magazine. While in high school, Ken began working and recording with local bands. One of which was signed to Brunswick Records. After the break-up of that band and graduating from high school, Ken enrolled in the The American Conservatory of Music and began playing in pit orchestras for musicals that came into town while attending the Conservatory. There he played his first musical, 'A Chorus Line.' He was later asked to go on the road with 'The Wiz' which led to 'Ain't Misbehavin'' with Nell Carter and his moving to California where he recorded and/or performed with such artists as Hank Crawford, Eddie Harris, Noel Pointer, Della Reese, Bennie Maupin and Joe Tex. While residing in California, Ken received his B.M. degree in music from the University of Southern California. Later, Ken was asked to join the original cast of 'Ain't Misbehavin' on Broadway that brought him to New York. There he worked on such musicals as 'Jelly's Last Jam,' 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' and with Jazz artists such as Lester Bowie and David Murray. Ken would later receive an M.A. degree in Jazz performance from Queens College where he studied under Sir Roland Hanna. Ken's talents extend far beyond music. He is also a songwriter, poet, playwright, actor and teacher. He has written four plays (Lorna's Lounge, Balloon On A String, The Great Kickin' Dog and Vanishing) having three produced off-Broadway. His poetry has been extolled by reknown international Poet, Barry Wallenstein. As an actor, Ken has portrayed a character which he conceived named 'Skillet' in a show entitled, 'It's A Harbop Life' which is a play starring top Jazz musicians acting and playing their instruments and which was performed at the JVC Jazz festival in New York and is now available on CD and DVD. Currently, Ken is starring in a sitcom entitled, 'The Skillet Show', based on the character he conceived and is aired on Bronxnet cable television each Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m.,channel 70. Ken looks forward to writing, producing and performing great smooth Jazz and R&B music. This, along with straight ahead Jazz, is the kind of music he enjoys the most.
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